Cleaning your home after dealing with lice
Parents often go overboard when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting their homes after dealing with a lice outbreak. A common misconception about cleaning your homes after lice is you must vacuum and clean floors and furniture. We also hear that anything you can’t clean, you should put in plastic bags for two weeks. Stop! It’s just not necessary.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Head lice do not survive long if they fall off a person and cannot feed off the human head. You don’t need to spend a lot of time or money on house cleaning activities.”
CDC recommends people machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that the infested person wore or used during the two days before treatment. It’s best using a hot water (130°F) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle. Any clothing that can’t be washed can be stored in a plastic bag for two days (not two weeks!). CDC also recommends soaking combs and brushes in hot water (at least 130°F) for five to 10 minutes.
Why should you not be cleaning the carpets or furniture?
According to the families that visit our clinic, the first thing most families do after treating is to start cleaning the house. They focus on the spots where the person with lice has been (like their bedroom floors or furniture they like), however, “the risk of getting infested by a louse that has fallen onto a rug or carpet or furniture is very low,” says CDC. “Head lice survive less than one to two days if they fall off a person and cannot feed; nits cannot hatch and usually die within a week if they are not kept at the same temperature as that found close to the human scalp.”
Nobody wants to take chances with head lice
But we get it…once you’ve had a lice infestation take over your home you DO NOT want to take any chances. And although we agree that it wouldn’t hurt to do some extra cleaning, we recommend that you spend that extra time combing the infested family member instead to ensure all nits are gone.
After all the time you’ll need to spend combing to end your lice nightmare, you’ll be over it and won’t want to be cleaning the house too. So, we are happy to tell you, you really don’t have to spend too much time on it. And if you don’t want to spend the days/weeks combing either, please contact Lice Clinics of Canada. We have multiple treatment options and can have you and your family lice free in only one visits to our clinic in Kitchener!